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5 Tips to Avoid Name Badge Disaster

Whether your producing a large-scale conference or a business luncheon, name badges can prove to be much more time and labor intensive than anything you might have allocated for in your planning. Name badges are important networking tools, but are often the bane of every event professional’s project plan. Here are 5 tips that will hopefully help you navigate your way from credential craziness!

1. It’s the final countdown… and badges R-Z haven’t been printed! Ah!

Name badges, like any other printed collateral piece, have a pre-defined production timeline. From deciding on artwork to receiving the guest list, to merging, printing and organization, the time it takes to complete an entire run of badges can be deceiving if not mapped out correctly. Analyze the number of anticipated guests and work from the larger count to start your plan. Order badge holders and lanyards at least three weeks in advance of the event. By this time, the registration reports will be closer to the true count of attendees, but general rule of thumb is to account for 10% of your final count to ensure you don’t run out of the “hardware,” in this case holders, lanyards, etc. Check with your selected printer on the drop dead dates and stick to them. Let your printer know you need these in hand at least three days prior. Any new guests after this will need to be printed in-house on blank stock or on-site.

2. Always alphabetize your guest list by last name. Wash, rinse and repeat.

Badge printing often times involves a tight turnaround with many changes to the guest list in between. Anytime you receive a new list, double-check that the list is organized by last name before beginning a mail merge or sending to your selected printer. Believe us, you do not want to receive 500 name badges that have somehow been alphabetized by first name…

3. Channel your inner Santa and check that list twice… maybe three times!

Depending on your involvement with the registration process, maybe you’re receiving guest names from another department or you’re managing the entire operation, it’s important to take the time to go through the entire guest list. You may not know every name (or even any name) on the list, but our brains our wired to identify patterns in a list, which includes mistakes. If an organization is an acronym for one guest but the same organization is spelled out for another guest, make an executive decision on what makes the most sense for the event and stick to one format.

4. Hello! My Name is….

Decide early on in the planning process (even before registration opens), on what fields you will want to utilize on your name badges. Do you need titles? Are positions important to this badge? Do you need to mark a special identifier like meal preference or session track? Ask yourself what personal data you want to collect from your attendees and incorporate that into the registration process for use in the development of your credentials later on. A great base for a name badge is “First Name,” “Last Name,” and “Organization.”

5. Cohesiveness is key, but it’s okay to have a little fun.

The purpose of a badge is to act as an identifier. Think about this when you’re having the artwork designed or you’re doing the designing yourself. Fonts should be easy to read, so stick with serif and sans-serif typefaces. Go bold with what’s important i.e. the persons’ name! Consider using all CAPS for the first and last name for maximum readability. Play with colors and shapes on the badge background if you’re aiming to separate guests into groups based on predetermined tags, like Press or Student, that way you know, at quick glance, the who’s who of the room.


It’s easy to be overwhelmed by a large volume of name badges and the work it entails to produce these pieces. However, keep these tips and mind and you’ll be a few less steps away from name badge purgatory and on your way to a seamless event check-in!

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